Reading Hebert's latest column, which articulates the relative failure of Harper's latest attempt to woo Quebecers, with his toothless federal spending restriction proposal, it would seem the reaction plays to the Bloc's advantage. Given the fact that the Liberals are less and less relevant in Quebec, for the near term at least, federalists are left with the Conservatives as the serious counter to the Bloc. If Stephen Harper achieves his majority, basic math demands that much of the gains must come at the Bloc's expense. It presents a interesting dilemma, which is worse, a Harper majority or a robust separatist contingent on the federal scene?
I understand why Quebecers vote for the Bloc, but for anyone who believes in a Canada that includes Quebec, their presence in Parliament is clearly unwanted and unproductive. The Bloc represents a narrow perspective, articulating a maddening knee jerk negativism to anything that could be construed as pro-Canada. That's the dynamic, that's the agenda, Quebec first, period. Fine for Quebecers in one sense, hardly constructive on so many other levels. Therefore, Harpers flawed view of federalism aside, any national party that can marginalize the Bloc should be welcomed, right? At first blush yes, but then when the consequences of the waning fortunes of the separatist cause are realized, you are left with a Harper majority.
In terms of real damage to the country, a Conservative majority is far more practical than the presence of a fringe party, that rarely influences much, rhetoric aside. With that reality in mind, I couldn't help but think "good" while reading Hebert's column, despite the fact that Harper's failure gives Duceppe a powerful talking point. Barring some miracle, wherein the Liberals rise from the ashes, the best scenario for Canada might include a healthy Bloc for the present, a check on Harper and his agenda. I'd never thought I'd say this, but I would rather have a large gang of cranky separatists in the House of Commons for now, rather than unchecked power for these new Conservatives. Rotten eggs or curdled milk?